After a major news outlet published an interview with an employee of The Ellen DeGeneres Show about the toxic work environment, executive producers held an all-staff meeting over Zoom to address the negative story and low morale.
Other ex-employees also spoke up publicly, sharing details of their day-to-day experiences working on the show. Claims emerged about racist remarks, being axed from their jobs for taking bereavement days or medical leave, Ellen not even acknowledging them, and the show failing to communicate the status of their jobs and compensation during COVID.
Although the majority of the former crew members said it was mostly the executive producers and senior managers who are responsible for the negative environment, others think the show’s host should take responsibility. I agree.
The definition of culture is ‘how we do things here’ and that starts at the top. Leaders have a powerful influence on an organization’s culture, which sets the tone for how employees perceive their work experience and how much discretionary effort they give you. So, in many ways, an organization’s success depends on the leader’s ability to help shape and uphold an amazing organizational culture. In this instance, it seems that Ellen may have dropped the ball.
JILL, WHAT CAN I DO? Several possibilities exist to improve your company culture such as hiring a new senior leader, embarking on a strategic employee engagement journey, and developing your managers (which includes your senior leadership team). Effective leaders have a major impact on their team and company as a whole, and employees who have great managers say they are more productive, feel more connected, and are more engaged. So, embark on a manager development program and once you see improvement, launch your employee engagement journey. Then stand back and watch your culture soar.